Dave Kunkel
Dave Kunkel photo

In 1973, Dave Kunkel started work at The Ford Meter Box Company in Wabash, Indiana following his graduation from Purdue University and six years at Dalton Foundry in Warsaw, Indiana. Beginning his career at Ford Meter Box as assistant foundry manager, Dave became foundry manager in the early 1970s following the retirement of John Mann. Dave was an outstanding foundryman and foundry manager. Under his leadership, the Ford Meter Box Foundry became a “world class” foundry, manned by well-trained employees, equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and utilizing the very latest foundry methods. The Ford foundry became one of the largest brass foundries in the country with production of high quality castings for waterworks products.

Serving with the Ford Meter Box board of directors since 1991, Dave became Senior Vice President of Manufacturing in 1997 following the retirement of Dick Prickett. With the responsibility for all of the manufacturing operations, he led Ford Meter Box through the three highest production years in the historyof the company. Dave was appointed to the board of the Ford Meter Box Foundation and the company's Contribution Committee in 1992. The Ford Meter Box Foundation administers charitable gifts to the Wabash County area and other notable causes. Dave enjoyed his work with the Foundation and contributed greatly to the community through his volunteer efforts. He spearheaded the company's effort to support education in the local school systems. Leadership and willingness to delegate responsibilities were Dave's strengths. His big smile and willingness to talk with anyone was known throughout the factory. He loved his job and worked until his last days. Dave had ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and had suffered through diminishing muscle strength for several months. In spite of this immense challenge, Dave Kunkel retained his positive outlook on life. In doing so, he was an inspiration to everyone around him.

Dave Kunkel had a passion for cars. On of the greatest pleasures in his life was driving his metallic blue Corvette convertible. It was not uncommon to hear Dave engaged in a lively conversation with other Ford employees on the topic of classic cars. When Dave passed away in February 2000, Dan Harvey, a machinist at Ford Meter Box approached Sandy Kunkel, Dave's wife, about having a car show to help raise awareness about ALS. Any and all proceeds would be donated to ALS research. Sandy thought it was a wonderful idea and Dan contacted fellow employees and area car enthusiasts with the plan. In a few short months, the first Dave Kunkel Cruise-In was held in Wabash, Indiana and the event drew over three hundred cars. The car show was such a success that the show sponsors gladly committed to a second cruise-in. The 2001 Dave Kunkel Cruise-In attracted over 400 cars, trucks and motorcycles and raised more than $5000 for ALS research and Vernon Manor Home For Children, a local facility for the care of children with special health needs.

Dave was always willing to help with worthy causes and would lend his time and efforts for the betterment of his community. Acting on his behalf, many others are now working to help bring hope to those who suffer from ALS.


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